You can tell its winter in the southern USA when the sun lies low in the southern sky and the coolness near the earth eases a blended haze that softens the panorama. Light bounces off the water brightly aboard the Berg and few vessels are interested in sampling these waters this time of year, except me, I do enjoy an uncrowded sail area.
I seem to be making progress at a more visible rate now as the above photo shows. Many of the components aboard are now functional and the Berg is beginning to take on the appearance of a sea-going vessel rather than a shipyard queen. While most of the vessels around her lie idle, this dock space affords good access to improve some of the small issues that must be fixed before I can have peace of mind.
The current bogie is a leaking shaft seal which it seems we (the mechanic and me) have isolated to be the result of a connection he made from the exhaust water into the seal which could not contain the pressure and spilled the results into the bilge every time I was underway. Testing this revealed that once that connection was discontinued, the seal worked just fine. If this is so, then the major problem of my "drip-less seal" dripping into the bilge will then have been discovered and fixed.
Meanwhile, looking above, the rigging is shaking out a bit and before any heavier winds arrive this winter, I am taking the luxury of time to identify how things are arranged in the rigging. The furling headsail has had some work, from getting a sacrificial on its borders to protect it further from UV damage. Much of its stitching was dissolving from this damage and so I had the loft re-sew the entire sail. However, it had some anomalies too. The next few photos of the headsail reveal many interesting things:
|This bugger, with a too-tight small clevis in the grommet could not fly freely nor turn without pushing itself around the furler. By using the steel line, it permitted the top of the genoa to wrap normally. A temporary fix.|
|Another view of the problem wrap. This is not halyard wrap, this is sail wrap! And yes, the keen eye will look in the background and see the extremely low water level of our lake allowing my keel a precious 2 feet of space at present.|
The top tack attaching to the swivel would not lie down and wrap. The sail had a mischievous wrinkle at the top which resisted its furling and drove the swivel around rather than it lying down at furling and wrapping itself accordingly. Conferring with my loft, we used a cord of steel-like strength to attach the grommet and for the time being the sail is beginning to accept he new wrap. We will pick up this fix later.
I should remind myself to kick myself once again for accepting the length of the mainsheet and genoa leads as I received them. Once again, this turned out to be incorrect but only after I arrived back aboard with my new sheets and realized they were all about 6 to 10 feet too short to be truly effective. They are marginally correct. Oh well. They will have to do for now. Later they will enter the inventory of "dock lines" and be replaced by a better fitment. When will I learn this lesson? Verify, measure twice, then decide. I told the First Mate about this and she laughed.
My effort at this point however has been to get the Berg up-and-running, and to then, after a season of sailing to make some decisions about further fitments, sail changes, and proper sheets.
One of the things I keep in mind with this Berg is that she was not sailed habitually throughout the year. Many of the additions appear to be "last minute" ideas that might have been applied one season but not tested over time. Cleats are dissimilar and hastily riveted here and there on the mast, attachment pins were worn and corroded and none of the rigging turnbuckles had cotter pins to keep them from turning once tuned. It was essentially a "day sail" vessel and for that it probably was sufficient--however not that safe nor durable in testing conditions. Now, it is being subjected to my critique and its "due-outs" are my work-list.
And finally, I was able to get the name "Nautica" on the transom. There will be a naming Ceremony later, but the relief of finally affixing a name is a "rite of passage" for a skipper, as this is the phase where things have finally begun to look like real ownership and a bit of endearment.